Watercolor – Line Art

Line art or line drawing is a favorite style of mine. It’s a fun and unique way to be able to combine abstract thinking with the skills you’ve learned to draw realistically. you can draw faces, flowers, whatever your heart desires! Here’s some history behind the movement growing more and more popular, along with some examples to help inspire you to create your own!


A short history… Line drawings are simply that, line drawings. No shading or color graduations to represent objects as two or three dimensional. Line drawings are often realistic, but can also be cartoon or abstract. Before photography or halftones were discovered or made accessible, line art was standard for printed publications. Since there was only one tone of ink, artists sometimes used stippling or crosshatching to give the impression of grays within the artwork. However, the majority of artists seemed to stick with the idea of line drawings without adding shading.


The use of line in artwork remains a fundamental element. Line is able to turn two dimensional objects three dimensional. Line art is a great way to turn in our right brain and start thinking of matter in a different way. By sketching a simple outline multiple times it helps burn that image into our memory and we are able to build up a mental library.


So there you are! Take the history of line art and making it your own. Personally, I start with an abstract background with a neutral or limited pallet. Then I go onto Pinterest and find a unique portrait and I sketch out the profile in a sketchbook. I change 1-2 things about the portrait then sketch it out again. I then take my sketch onto my canvas with a pencil VERY LIGHTLY. Once I have a profile to my liking I use a sharpie or quality marker to go over the pencil. I erase the pencil marks, maybe add a few more watercolor splashes, then I’m done!


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